This summer could be one of major transition for Chelsea Football Club. With the future of Antonio Conte in significant doubt after reports that talks were to take place with Maurizio Sarri, who knows what the first team squad will look like by the end of the transfer window.
It was undoubtedly a disappointing season for the Blues. Conte never really recovered credibility from the Diego Costa saga and far from building on what was a superb title win in 2016/17, they regressed badly and failed to even qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Last summer’s big signings all promised great things but didn’t produce consistently throughout the entire season, with Conte even forced to look for emergency striking options in January after concerns about Alvaro Morata’s form.
The man he turned to in January was Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, who arrived to remind everyone who had written him off in English football that he was still an elite option for the division’s top six sides.
The 31-year-old scored five goals and assisted three times in the second half of the season, providing the Blues attack with a vital focal point that further highlighted Morata’s fall from grace after an initial promising couple of months in a Chelsea shirt.
On Monday night, he again demonstrated why he should be the one who hangs around amidst a potential transfer revolution this summer.
After scoring against the Republic of Ireland, Giroud is heading into the World Cup with France as the country’s fourth highest all-time goalscorer with 31 international goals in 72 appearances and will potentially be their main man in a summer of high expectations for Les Bleus.
While more dynamic players like Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Nabil Fekir will likely pull in all the attention and hype, Giroud has that classic World Cup target man pedigree and the experience to be the one who gets the vital goals in Russia.
His five aerial duels won, five shots and one chance created highlights just what he offers his country and his club; a dominant physicality that allows him to draw in more creative players and an eye for goal that will always make him a threat in the penalty box.
He is the plan B option that Chelsea will need again next season and that makes him more valuable to the first team squad, even ahead of Morata.
The Spaniard was brought to the club with the intention of being the Blues’ first name on the teamsheet, but his debut season has thrown up more questions than answers and Chelsea need to consider whether they must invest in a new high-profile striker that can lead their trophy chase next term.
With fresh blood or not, Giroud will always be there waiting for his opportunity and you’d back him to deliver, making him a player who must be protected come what may regarding transfers this summer.